Did you miss the “Elegant Vessels: A Century of Southwest Silver Boxes” exhibition at the Heard Museum? Not to worry. You can now view the John & Carol Krena’s vessels collection right here! Below are the more than 150 vessels that comprise this unique collection, from early works dating to c. 1914 through commissioned works made in 2022. Click on any of the boxes to see details and photos.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
THE JOHN & CAROL KRENA SILVER BOX COLLECTION
It all started with one tiny, powerful Navajo box…
Sometime in the late 1970’s, I purchased my first Navajo container, marveling at the deceptively complex and sophisticated metalwork exhibited in this “tourist” piece. Repousse, folded metal, and perfect firework set on exquisitely formed button feet compelled me to learn more about this underappreciated form of native artistry.
So began a more than four-decade quest to find and acquire the most innovative and technically exceptional examples of Navajo and pueblo boxes, starting with the earliest examples I could locate and tracing a timeline through the C.G. Wallace era, to the mid-century masters, and culminating with commissioned pieces from several of today’s top artists.
The lids often provide a flat palette for expression unavailable on most three dimensional jewelry forms. Exquisite lapidary technique and execution combine with masterful metalwork of many of the boxes, with each example having its own unique life.
Seeking out and amassing this group has been quite a challenge, an educational and artistic journey that sincerely hope will bring pleasure to all who view these examples. My heartfelt gratitude to the Heard Museum for agreeing to present this important collection.
– John Krena
The “Elegant Vessels: A Century of Southwest Silver Boxes” book shares the most innovative and comprehensive collection of 171 Native-made silver boxes, from early works dating from c.1914 through commissioned works made in 2022.
Elegantly photographed on crisp backgrounds and fluidly grained wood tabletops from the studio of George and Mira Nakashima, “Elegant Vessels” documents this important collection, providing a historical introduction to silver boxes and curated details. Featured works are from artists once known, matriarchs of silversmithing, to some of today’s top artists.
© 2022 by Four Winds Gallery, Pittsburgh
Artistic photography by Evan Sanders and word by Robert Bauver.
Published to coincide with the exhibition Elegant Vessels: A Century of southwest silver boxes, organized by the Heard Museum, and presented Fall 2022.
Hardcover, 152 pages. 12 1/4″ x 9 3/4″ x 3/4″
HEARD MUSEUM | PHOENIX, AZ
October 7, 2022 – March 5, 2023
More than 75 boxes from the collection were exhibited at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, in the show:
The exhibition ran October 7, 2022 – March 5, 2023 in the Kitchell Gallery, and featured what we believe to be the most comprehensive collection of Native-made silver boxes in existence.
Curated by Robert Bauver, a specialist in historical silver jewelry and metalwork, the exhibition displayed more than 75 boxes, from early works dating to c. 1914 through commissioned works made in 2022. The exhibition includes the artistry of Leo Poblano (Zuni Pueblo), Leekya Deyuse (Zuni Pueblo), Kenneth Begay (Diné), Paul Saufkie (Hopi), Morris Robinson (Hopi), Fred Peshlakai (Diné), Jennifer Curtis (Navajo), and other accomplished silversmiths.